Master_gardener_medium_medium Minnesota Yard & Garden

University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener volunteers are on-hand to answer Minnesotan's questions about home flower gardens, vegetable and fruit gardens, landscape design and maintenance, seed starting, garden soil, composting, and pest management.

(This group currently has 14 experts available to answer questions)

Questions asked to this group

Reclaiming an old Vegetable Garden in Apple Valley

Hello: I am working on reclaiming a large vegetable garden at my new home in Apple Valley. I gather from neighbors that it has been dormant and overgrown for perhaps 5-7 years. Prior to that (and several owners ago), it was established and gardened for decades. That owner/garden even installed an irrigation system (yet to be tested) which ties into my outside spigot. The garden is perhaps 15' x 45.' I have cleaned out the overgrown weeds, taken down the old roughshod fencing, and begun to put up a new garden fence. I am mostly a gardening beginner. Like many, I'm hoping to do some ambitious vegetable gardening this summer, with all of my #stayhomeMN free time. I've started to do some seed germination indoors in peat pots and would like to get some colder soil seeds in the ground soon. Depending on the outcomes of this, I will also supplment my plugs with some nursery plugs (if I can get them). My key question at this point is about soil. What sort of things should I be doing to help my soil right now? It appears that there is a good amount of soil built by the previous gardener (as it looks to be elevated at least on one side). Digging posts, I can see that on the side, there is about 30" of soil above the clay. On the other, uphill, end, it appears to be around 1". I plan on roto-tilling it up this week at a minimum to break up the weed roots and begin loosen the soil. What else should I consider doing at this stage? Also, is there a good resource to look to for planting schedules?? Thanks, Dan

Dakota County Minnesota Posted 11 minutes ago

Crabgrass preventer

Is it too early this spring(April 10-2020) to apply a pre- emergent? It seems like spring is a little ahead of normal. Thanks, Gary

Anoka County Minnesota Posted 12 minutes ago

Black Swallowtail butterfly emerged

Hi, I hope you guys could help us. We overwintering a black swallowtail chrysalis on our unheated front porch in south Minneapolis. Well it emerged today and it seems a little soon. Is it okay to just release it...into certain doom? Could we try to feed it and keep it in the porch for a couple of weeks? I was hoping he’d come out last summer but the little guy just stayed in there all winter. Any advice you might have would be appreciated. Thanks in advance, Audrey

Hennepin County Minnesota black swallowtail Posted about 11 hours ago

Using leaves as mulch

Is using the leaves from my yard as mulch by just blowing them into the beds in fall harmful, specifically to my trees?

Sherburne County Minnesota Posted about 11 hours ago

Soil for Vegetable garden

We just moved to a home that has a 14x20’ vegetable garden. We want to grow lettuce, herbs, carrots, onions, tomatoes, peppers...nothing too exotic just great for salads and veggies out of garden. Last year I added a few bags of top soil. Lettuce, tomatoes and peppers grew great. Carrots, onions, broccoli, strawberries, blueberries not very good. I bought a soil test kit. pH is 7.5. Nitrogen was “depleted”. Phosphorous and Potash are “sufficient” or “surplus”. I wish I could do a real soil test with U of M, but suspect this is closed... I want to add soil, fertilizer, etc this year...What do you recommend I consider? And where is a place that sells this in bulk, or do I need to load up on large bags at Home Depot or Bachman’s? I am not picky, but I want to give my garden just a good, basic chance at delivering great vegetables. Thanks for any advice you can provide...

Carver County Minnesota vegetable gardening Posted about 13 hours ago

Covering tree roots in front yard

We have a large locust tree in our front yard. The roots are exposed above the grass line which makes it hard to mow and not very attractive for yard appeal. We live in Woodbury where the ground is mostly clay. What is the best way to cover the roots so that the whole yard looks nice? I talked to my neighbor covered his roots a couple of years ago with the same problem. He stated that the sprayed his grass with grass killer, covered it with dirt, and then seeded it. Is this a good way to solve the problem?

Washington County Minnesota Posted about 15 hours ago

Potato scab and asparagus

Hi, My potatoes had scab last year. Will not plant potatoes in the same place for a few years. Can I use the bed to start an asparagus bed - I am assuming that the bacterium will not affect aspargus, but am not sure. thank you.

Ramsey County Minnesota Posted about 15 hours ago

How to restore a suburban forested area

We bought a home that has a yard with about a third of an acre of land, a lot of which is a forested area that is on an incline. The problem is that most the trees are dead or are buckthorn. We have been spending our quarantine time cut down the buckthorn and dead trees that are small enough for us to manage ourselves. We have trees left (oaks and aspen), a lot of which are leaning toward the house (seeking sun). We want to repopulate the forested area with trees and or tall shrubs and need suggestions on the types to plant. Our goals are: 1. To reestablish privacy. 2. Maintain habitats for animals 3. Every tree on our lot turns brown in the fall, some color would be nice. 4. We hear highway noise from 694, so in the summer the woods acts as noise block. Our concerns: 1. We’re struggling to keep the buckthorn down. How to we permanently kill it? 2. Because the oaks and aspens that remain are old and very tall, they do provide a solid amount of shade in the woods. We need things that can tolerate that. It is also fairly wet in that area. 3. Is there a way to prevent the “leaning toward the sun” issue? It is causing trees to grow at a 45 degree angle? Should the trees that grow that way be removed? Or is it just an aesthetic issue? 4. Ideally we’d be able to reestablish some of that privacy daily quickly. We realize this is a “long haul” project, but are there faster growing options? 5. This forested area is RIGHT on top of the house. Do we need to avoid certain things?

Ramsey County Minnesota Posted about 18 hours ago

Using leaves to keep weeds down in unused garden spot.

After vegetable gardening for years, I'm approaching 80 and probably unable to have a garden this year. My yard is full of maple leaves that came down after we got our first snows last fall. I'm wondering if I can use them in the garden area to keep the weeds down. Any suggestions?

Steele County Minnesota Posted about 19 hours ago

Sumac invasion on our property

What are the best ways to get rid of Sumac and the root system on our property?

Carver County Minnesota sumac removal Posted about 20 hours ago